HANOI (AFP) - It may be their glaring inexperience or the punishing tropical weather, but the United Arab Emirates' Asian Cup campaign was likely doomed before they even arrived.
The Gulf Cup champions, fraught with injury problems, were shown the exit when they lost 3-1 to title-holders Japan on a hot and humid night on Friday following a shock 2-0 defeat to unheralded Vietnam in Group B.
"I think we needed time to come back from the Gulf Cup we won (in January)," French coach Bruno Metsu said, emphasising that six of the champion squad had been injured since.
"For our team, it is impossible to win anything," he added.
"Imagine the Japanese team without six leading players. It's very difficult. Our country is not the same as Brazil, France or Japan."
The long-haired 53-year-old, who led Senegal to the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals, also pointed out that his squad had only one month to train after the domestic league ended.
"This is a team with young players. We made many mistakes," he said. "But if we did not make many mistakes, everything was possible against Japan."
Metsu was tasked to help the UAE, the 1996 semi-finalists, qualify for the quarter-finals here as a first step toward a second World Cup appearance for the country and himself.
But his squad missed midfield architect Subait Khater and left wingback Adel Abdulaziz through injury.
The UAE's strike-force of Ismaeli Matar and Faisal Khalil, both of them 24, were also fresh back from fitness problems.
"Before we received the first goal, our team played a good game. Our players in the midfield gave no chances to the Japanese team," Metsu said, adding that the UAE defence started to crumble after Japan drew first blood.
He added that it was not easy for either teams with the temperature above 30 degrees Centigrade (86 F) with 85 percent humidity.
The UAE now play for pride in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday when they clash with Gulf neigbours Qatar, who collected two points from draws against Japan and Vietnam.
The two leaders, each with four points, battle for the top Group B spot here on the same day.
|Messi? Ronaldo? Salah is world´s best player – Gerrard|
|Liverpool are not Barcelona – Klopp cautious of Roma comeback|
|Liverpool supporter in ´critical condition´ after fan clashes|
|It´s all-inclusive football with Liverpool! - Klopp pleased despite Roma recovery|
|Montella to remain Sevilla coach until end of season|
|Di Francesco: Roma gave up – but if you don´t believe in a comeback, stay at home|
|Klopp accepts Salah substitution sparked Roma fightback|
|Oxlade-Chamberlain may miss World Cup after suffering ´a really bad injury´|
|De Rossi blames long balls for Roma ´blackout´ at Anfield|
|Late Liverpool lapses sour stunning Salah show|
|Henderson wary of Barcelona repeat as Roma leave Liverpool with hope|
|Championship Review: Cardiff slip up as Barnsley stay in the relegation zone|
|Liverpool 5 Roma 2: Salah shines but late comeback offers Giallorossi hope|
|Salah sets Liverpool record with spectacular first-half double|
|Oxlade-Chamberlain carried off in Champions League semi-final|
|Firmino back, as Milner starts for Liverpool against Roma|
|I didn´t want James to go - Zidane ready for Champions League reunion with familiar face|
|Kroos: You can´t buy the Champions League|
|Leeds urged to help Rohingya during ´odd´ Myanmar tour|
|Buffon slams reports of breakdown in Benatia relationship|
|Former France coach Michel dies aged 70|
|Ancelotti talks not about Italy job, says Costacurta|
|It was a weird few days - FA Cup final ref Oliver reflects on Buffon incident|
|Boateng not intimidated by supreme athlete Ronaldo|
|Heynckes: James was depressed after Real Madrid exit|
|Worry about Ronaldo? Real Madrid should fear Lewandowski, says Heynckes|
|Supporter tensions have affected Wenger - Rice|
|Germany submits Euro 2024 bid dossier|
|If Lewandowski wants to go, Bayern will have to let him – Effenberg|
|´Goal machine´ Ronaldo more complete than Messi – Kimmich|
|Bayern Munich v Real Madrid: Is this the end of the ´BBC´?|
|Zidane taking entire Madrid squad to Munich|
|Buffon reaction to Real Madrid penalty ´understandable´ – UEFA president|
|Liverpool owner was ´bitching´ about overpaying for Salah – Roma president|
|Liverpool Salah v Roma Salah: The Opta numbers|
|Salah eyes Reds record, Roma´s away-day struggles - Champions League semi-final in Opta numbers|
|The Spanish Inquisition - Bayern´s UCL hoodoo vs LaLiga´s big boys|
|Dani Alves: I´d return to Barcelona tomorrow|
|No friendly Roma reunion for Salah, warns Klopp|
|WATCH: Translator wins Klopp´s approval after lengthy response|
|Swap spaghetti for burgers? Di Francesco not considering Premier League move|
|Allardyce hits back at style critics after scrappy Everton win|
|Nothing to prove - Cahill bullish after Chelsea revival|
|Everton 1 Newcastle United 0: Walcott scuppers Benitez´s century celebrations|
|Everton debut ´virtual mascot´ before Newcastle clash|
|Salah? I can count on Cengiz Under – Di Francesco|
|´Shameful´ Bolivian side forfeit match at 7-0 down after fielding youth team|
|Henderson fired up for ´fantastic´ De Rossi battle|
|Klopp urges Liverpool fans to ´show respect´ to Roma|
|Juventus confirm muscle tear for Chiellini|
|Klopp key to surprising Salah success – Totti|
|Salah´s PFA award made more special by De Bruyne form – Klopp|
|Liverpool have earned the right to be feared, says Gerrard|
|Arsenal confirm ankle ligament damage for Elneny|
|Hector pledges future to struggling Cologne|
|´Crazy´ fans can help Roma knock out Liverpool, says Voller|
|He keeps getting better and better - Henderson full of praise for PFA winner Salah|
|Roma v Liverpool: Giallorossi have chance to write positive headlines|
|Wenger will not be short of offers from clubs - Dein|
|I may play the kids in the FA Cup next season, reveals bemused Pochettino|
|Simeone weighing up three-man defence for Arsenal tie|
|Vieira refuses to address Arsenal rumours and Wenger departure|
|Man United star Pogba can win Ballon d´Or, says Ronaldinho|
|Silva loves me more than his girlfriend – Mendy|
|MLS Review: Timbers end NYC´s unbeaten start, Sounders claim first win|
|Emery praises PSG for maintaining motivation|
|Oblak unsure over Atletico Madrid future|
|Klopp ready for ´different´ Roma test|
|Salah always determined to prove his Premier League worth|
|City´s Sane named PFA Young Player of the Year|
|Salah pips De Bruyne to PFA Players´ Player of the Year award|
|Napoli bus spat at and insulted, Sarri claims|
|Navas will be at Real Madrid for many years – Perez|